ACMA issues warning for Spam Act breach

Sydney computer supplier, Apus Corporation, warned for continuing to send marketing emails without consent

Less than 24 hours after fining a telco service supplier for a Do Not Call Register infringement, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has handed down a spam email formal warning to Sydney computer supplier, Apus Corporation.

The warning was issued for sending marketing emails without the consent of the person receiving them, a breach of the new.

Under the Act, marketing messages must include a way for recipients to request to be unsubscribed from receiving further emails. Unsubscribe requests need to be actioned within five business days.

ACMA spam compliance division head, Julia Cornwell McKean, said that in the case of Apus, it continued to send out marketing emails despite requests from consumers to unsubscribe.

“Twenty four messages were sent to one man over a three month period, in spite of requests by ACMA to stop the messages,” she said.

“The emails were sent between December 2010 and February 2011 but the investigation followed a number of interactions over several years with Apus regarding complaints that we had received at the ACMA.”

According to Cornwell McKean, it first began receiving complaints about Apus in 2009. The marketing emails always promoted Apus’ products and services.

She said the decision to move to investigate Apus was not taken lightly as ACMA preferred to help companies achieve compliance voluntarily through education.

“Our campaign, `Successful e-marketing, it’s about reputation’, which we launched in July is a concept we developed because we want the industry to learn from its own mistakes,” she said.

“Being caught for breaches of the Spam Act does impact on businesses’ reputation, and we also want businesses to consider if people will continue to buy from you if you bother them with messages.”

If the formal warning sent to Apus was not complied with, an infringement notice could be issued following further investigation. Cornwell McKean also said the ACMA also has the power to request enforceable undertakings, or fines, from a company and seek Federal Court injunctions.

According to ACMA’s website it has made one prosecution in the Federal court in Perth against Clarity1 and its managing director, Wayne Mansfield. In October 2006, penalties of $4.5 million and $1 million were handed down against Clarity 1 and Mansfield for contravening the Spam Act.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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